A Manitoba man was in the Philippines last Friday for a high school reunion and found himself in the middle of giant storm that left thousands dead.
Edwin Sonsona, who moved to Canada in 2006 and lives in Steinbach, was in a hotel in Cebu City when Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the island nation in Southeast Asia.
As he hunkered down with others in a banquet room the storm plowed through, sounding like a roaring jet plane as it ripped through buildings and uprooting trees.
"Debris flying and then winds so strong," Sonsona said. "I can hear the sounds of like the wind whistling and then, yes, it's just like an airplane wants to take off."
As the storm raged, Sonsona managed a call to his wife and children, who were still in Steinbach, telling them he was OK so they wouldn't worry about him. But, he said, he was actually scared to death.
People in the banquet hall were praying and crying, Sonsona said, adding that all survived.
He got out of Cebu City the following day and is now back home. He said he's worried about friends and family still in the area. They survived but have lost their homes.
Sonsona said he couldn't believe the destruction to the community. As he was leaving, Cebu was buried in rubble and debris.
Recorded as the fourth most intense tropical cyclone ever observed, Haiyan made landfall with winds whipping at 315 km/h. The typhoon was travelling at a speed equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.
In Cebu City, children now line the streets hoping for food while rescue teams struggle to reach the impacted areas.
"I was brokenhearted when I heard the news like, up to yesterday, they don't have food yet, like what? Since Friday until today, you don't have food? Five days already," said Sonsora.
According to the Philippine government, the confirmed death toll from the storm is now at 2,275, while some 600,000 people have been displaced, many of them homeless, hungry and thirsty.
Looting is becoming rampant as people scramble for food.
On Wednesday, mobs overran a rice warehouse in Tacloban, the island worst hit, setting off a wall collapse that killed eight people, while security forces exchanged gunfire with an armed gang.